Health Suppliments & Nutrition

Where Do You Get Vitamin D Naturally?

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The body needs vitamin D to keep the bones and teeth strong and healthy. Unlike other vitamins, vitamin D is unique because the body naturally produces it. What does vitamin D do to the body, and how can you get it naturally?

Why Do You Need Vitamin D?

The body needs vitamin D, a fat-soluble vitamin, to better absorb calcium. It also promotes growth in children and adolescents, and prevents bone loss in older adults.

Vitamin D also plays an important role in several bodily functions, including digestive, immune, nervous, and circulatory systems.

With this vitamin helping so many different functions, it’s no wonder why you need a dose daily.

Get Out and Enjoy the Sunshine

You can naturally get vitamin D from two sources, but the best way to get it is to expose yourself to sunlight. Vitamin D is unlike any other vitamin, in that it’s naturally produced by the body. In fact, vitamin D isn’t exactly a vitamin at all. It’s a precursor to a hormone, or a prohormone.

The skin has a kind of cholesterol that transforms into vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, particularly UV-B.

But not everyone can get enough vitamin D this way. People who live farther north or farther south get less sunlight than those who live nearer to the equator. Places with seasons that get less sunlight might not get their recommended daily dose all year round, as well.

People with darker skin also need to be exposed to sunlight for a longer time than those with lighter skin. Older people might not produce vitamin D as efficiently as younger people do, even if they bathe in the sun for long periods.

Physical and chemical blockers can also reduce vitamin D production. Examples are sunscreens and thick clothing.

For those that need extra vitamin D, there are dietary supplements either in pill or liquid form. Vitamin D drops (like these on are a good option for those that do not like taking pills. You can also get more vitamin D from the food you eat.

Whole Foods with Vitamin D

Seafood, especially fatty fish, are some of the richest sources of vitamin D. These include mackerel, tuna, oysters, sardines, shrimp, and anchovies.

For a plant-based source, vegans and vegetarians can turn to mushrooms.

How Much Vitamin D Do You Need?

How much vitamin D varies on your age and location, but anywhere between 800 to 2,000 IU per day is recommended.

Though rare, vitamin D may be toxic at large doses, so keep your daily dose to below 4,000 IU.

Of course, you can’t really measure how many IUs of vitamin D you’re getting from sunlight, but the general consensus is that daily sun exposure of 5-15 minutes is ideal. As mentioned, those with darker skin might need to stay under the sun a little longer.